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Great White North National Championships: Club relays.
By:  Karl Saidla   (2005/02/27)

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Foothills ski club of Calgary/Canmore once again demonstrated impressive strength and depth in the club relay competitions of the Canadian Junior and Senior Nationals, taking place this week in Prince George, B.C.

Conditions have been spring-like, with sunshine, very old snow coming from a variety of sources (natural, trucked in, man-made), and temperatures sometimes climbing into the plus 12 celsius range. Colder overnight temperatures and very impressive volunteer labour has made the skiing remarkably good, despite there being basically no snow to speak of in downtown Prince George, with children wearing shorts and bouncing playfully on backyard trampolines.

In open men's 3 by 5k classic relay, the fast conditions and relatively flat course kept the racing tight, especially in the early going. In the end, the Foothills 1 team, including the legendary McKeever brothers and Kazuma Takahashi eventually pulled away from the Banff Ski Runners ( Phil Widmer, Erik Carleton and Joel Jaques) for their second club relay victory in as many years. Foothills was so strong, in fact, that their second team picked up the bronze medal over XcOttawa.ca and Team Hardwood.

Amongst the women, Foothills ( Shayla Swanson, Brooke Gosling and Kim McMurtry) scored a comfortable win over Big Thunder (Kerrie Fabius, Rena Bode, and Emily Hayman) with third going Edmonton Nordic.

The club relays are gradually becoming a highlight of the Canadian Championships. The open men's competition, for instance, featured a very respectable 16 team field that turned out to very competitive and exciting to watch. The Junior relays were also competitive and exciting, with wins going to Banff Ski runners amongst the men and Kanata Racers for the women.

The Canadian Championships continue on Tuesday with short individual classic races.

 
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